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Letters to the editor

Associated Press
Rihanna arrives at the Grammy Awards on Feb. 10.

Decency standards for TV skewed

CBS issued a “wardrobe advisory,” requiring adequate coverage of breasts and buttocks, to those attending the 55th annual Grammy Awards, which aired at 8 p.m. on Feb. 10. At 7 p.m. the following Saturday, a show on another major network opened with an image of hundreds of maggots writhing in the eye sockets of a decaying corpse.

I have no interest in the Grammys and am indifferent toward CBS’ attempts to keep pop stars “respectable.” Moreover, I am not personally opposed to adults watching violent television; I happen to immensely enjoy “Breaking Bad.” Nonetheless, I find our broadcasters’ apparent priorities disconcerting.

Isn’t the whole point of regulating TV content to protect impressionable young viewers? From what are we more concerned about shielding our children? Is a woman’s breast truly more offensive than gruesome morbidity? I hope I am not alone in finding these standards of indecency both misguided and disturbing.


Penalty overhaul is key to IOSHA effectiveness

The Journal Gazette’s Ron Shawgo did a remarkable job in highlighting the shortcomings of the state’s workplace safety agency (“IOSHA falling down on the job?” and “OSHA assessing state safety offices’ effectiveness,” Feb. 24).

Some other figures help to assess the success of Indiana’s state OSHA plan. For instance, Indiana’s workplace fatality rate was 17th highest in the country for the most recent year of data (2010), yet Indiana’s penalties for serious violations – an average of a meager $886 – rank 41st in the country.

Additionally, federal OSHA’s review of Indiana’s state program found that serious violators were automatically given a 50 percent penalty reduction. Comparatively, other states selectively offer reductions based on good faith, size of employer and other justifications. Why do negligent employers get a free lunch in Indiana?

To ameliorate the agency’s problems, IOSHA must revamp its penalty system, which would simultaneously serve as a deterrent and hold employers accountable for unsafe working conditions.

The Indiana state government must also ensure that IOSHA receives adequate funding. Only then can the agency beef up its number of inspectors – which falls below the number that Federal OSHA has determined is necessary to sufficiently cover the state’s workplaces – and ensure that workers throughout Indiana are safe of the job.

TOM O’CONNOR Executive director National Council for Occupational Safety and Health Raleigh, N.C.

Not everyone sees need for gun ownership

Dale Pierce of Leo-Cedarville (Feb. 25) proposes that an initiative for education in the use of firearms be made a national priority. I can imagine that appealing to people who live in suburban and rural communities where gun ownership and use may be commonplace, but educated middle-class urban professionals who live and work in big cities would likely have no interest in such a plan because guns are irrelevant to them. They don’t keep a copy of the Constitution by their bedside, and they don’t dote on the Second Amendment.

Until I moved to Indiana, I had never met anyone who owned or had fired a gun. Who wants or needs a gun when one lives in an apartment in a big city? Unlike Pierce’s grandfather, who taught him about guns, mine died well before I was born. My father was born in 1892, my grandfather in 1860, and my great grandfather in 1828. So you can see there is a time factor in there as well.

My grandfather was a Boston banker. What need would he have had for a gun? Nobody I knew ever went fishing or hunting. It simply wasn’t part of our culture or awareness. As teenagers, my friends and I played sports, studied, went to foreign movies, museums and jazz clubs.

Of course, I understand that guns are important to many people in Indiana. Certainly, it would be useful to have one when hunting. If I were still living back in New York City and somebody told me I had to learn the proper handling and use of firearms, I would refuse to do so because I want no truck with guns or the Second Amendment.


FWCS GiaQuinta picks money over students

“If they take 100 students away from us, that’s $600,000 and that pays for teachers,” Fort Wayne Community Schools board member Mark GiaQuinta said (“FWCS draws line on new charters,” Feb. 26). “I would respectfully disagree that the opening of any charter would not adversely affect our teaching professionals and our ability to pay them what they are entitled to receive for the work they are doing.”

So, really, he has no issue with the children or their education. All he is worried about is money.

As I see it, however, if these children are not attending FWCS, then they are not being taught by FWCS teachers, and therefore they are not entitled to this money because they are not doing the work.